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Saturday, February 4, 2017

Lobbying 2017

Politico Playbook reports:
FIRST IN PLAYBOOK -- MORNING JOE, O’REILLY FACTOR RAISE AD RATES -- MSNBC and Fox News are capitalizing on Donald Trump’s TV watching habits. The cable networks have dramatically increased prices on issue advocacy rates in recent weeks as companies and outside groups try to influence Trump and his top lieutenants. “Morning Joe’s” rates have more than doubled post-election, according to one veteran media buyer. “The O’Reilly Factor” and other prime time programs on Fox News have boosted their rates about 50 percent. “The president’s media habits are so predictable, advertisers migrate to those areas,” said one media buyer.
ONE D.C. CONSULTANT told us some of his clients, including a big bank and major pharmaceutical company, were negotiating this week to buy ads on “O’Reilly” and “Morning Joe” because they knew they had a good chance of reaching the president. “Instead of lobbying through the usual channels, it’s like speaking directly into the president’s ear,” he said. The consultant also said some companies are proactively placing ads in order to avoid a Trump tweet, or in at least one instance trying to prompt Trump to tweet against their competitors. One source at MSNBC acknowledged that rates would likely go up. She said that “with strategically placed ad buys in New York and DC it’s likely the rates would increase ... [and] we would capitalize on increased interest.” Fox News declined to comment.
Open Secrets reports:
Lobbyists aren’t sure exactly how Trump’s new ethics plan will impact their industry, as it is filled with both new restrictions and more leniency compared to Obama’s plan. Trump allows former lobbyists to work in his administration, though they can’t work on issues they lobbied on in the last two years. (Obama blocked all lobbyists registered the previous year from working in the administration.) His five year lobbying ban only applies to lobbying the agency where they previously worked. Employees, except Cabinet appointees, can’t contact former colleagues for one year, instead of Obama’s two. Trump has also banned officials from lobbying on behalf of foreign governments.
It does seem clear, however, that Trump will make the industry even more opaque: The Washington Post found Trump took out language requiring annual reports outlining ethics compliance, and any ethics waivers do not need to be disclosed.
“At least Obama made his waivers public and now there is no way that we can find out,” Miller said. “You can’t FOIA the White House so they may never let you know,” he added, referring to the Freedom of Information Act.
On the other hand, Trump’s order applies to “lobbying activities” — including prep and strategy for making new contacts — rather than just lobbying per se.
Miller sees some irony in the order. “I can respect people for wanting strict policies on ethics, but when you put very, very strict regulations on lobbying conflicts of interest but you as an administration won’t take these same steps for your own personal and familial dealings, it doesn’t send the right message,” he said.